£7m boost to heat industry innovation

Government competition to boost innovation in the heat industry, drive down energy bills and cut carbon emissions in the UK.

Super insulated pipes, advanced algorithms and heat recovered from industrial waste are among the winning ideas in a million pound government-run competition to drive down energy bills and boost low carbon heat supplies in the UK.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey officially unveiled the 17 winning entries at the Association for Decentralised Energy Parliamentary Reception on the 20th January 2015. The winners are spread across the country, from a project combining solar and heat pump technology in Exeter, to a scheme trialling super insulated pipes in West Cumbria. The projects will share a prize pool of £1 million to carry out feasibility studies, before up to 10 of the best projects bid for a share of £6 million to fully implement their plans.

The competition will help to stimulate innovation in heat network technologies and bring the UK a step closer to generating 14% of heat demand through heat networks by 2030, while reducing carbon emissions and cutting bills for consumers. It is also an opportunity to create jobs and growth in the sector, with the industry expected to see up to £800 million worth of new capital investment over the next ten years.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

“This competition is all about supporting innovation and progress in the heat industry so we can heat more homes across the UK for less, while at the same time improve energy efficiency and cut the UK’s carbon emissions.

“More support for local heating projects will also give jobs in the sector a huge boost, with the value of the district and heat network market expected to rise to around £530 million this year.”

In addition to this competition, over the past year, through the Heat Network Delivery Unit funding scheme, the government has also awarded almost £7 million to local authorities across the country to help develop local heat networks. As a result, there are now around 2,000 heat networks in the UK, supplying local, renewable heat to 210,000 homes and 1,700 commercial and public buildings.

A further 150 schemes are known to be under development by local authorities across the UK. Successful bidders for the fourth round of this scheme will be announced in March.